Introduction: Macrame Fish Wall Hanging Made From Rope Scraps
Remember this bohemian macrame rug I made a while back? I had a bunch of leftover macrame cord from that project.I've decided it's time to use those scraps to create something new and exciting.
The idea for this project came to life when I was invited to a friend's birthday party.She loves fish and is a Pisces so I thought a macrame fish wall hanging would be the perfect gift! Needless to say she loved it and hanged it up on her wall immediately.
- 3 mm macrame cord
- Wooden dowel
- Blue food coloring
Step 1: Prepare the Base
Like I said I only used scrap cord from a previous project to create this wall hanging so I can't give you exact measurements.Something to keep in mind with every macrame project is that it's better to have more cord than less.It's easier to chop off any excess than it is to add in more cord.I would recommend you to cut at least 4 times more cord than the length of your final project.
To start off your wall hanging pick up a wooden dowel or a tree branch.If you are using a branch clean it up really well,sand it and stain it if you want.I did not stain mine.
Once you have your dowel or branch,pick up a cord and tie a simple knot on each side,so that you can hang the branch somewhere while you work.I used my trusty over the door hook.
Step 2: Lark's Head Knot
My vision for this hanging was to have a larger fish on the middle and two smaller ones on each side.I unrolled each of the leftover cords I had and attached them to the base with a Lark's head knot.
To make a Lark's head knot take a strand of cord and fold it in half.Place the loop you have created under the branch.Reach under the loop and over the branch and grab the two loose strands.Bring them down through the loop and pull and tighten the knot.
Repeat this step until you fill up the branch with cord (I used 30 strands).I purposefully left the longer cords in the middle and on each side where I wanted the little fishies to go.
Step 3: Wave Line
I wanted to make a sea-like effect at the top of the hanging,as if the fish was swimming towards it.
To make the wave line you will need a seperate macrame cord.I will be refering to this cord as holding cord.That cord wil go across all the other cords.
Place the holding cord over all other strands which I will refer to as your working cords.From left to right, tie a half hitch with the first strand - pass the cord over and then under the holding cord, followed by over itself to form a loop. Pull the knot tightly and push it up to where you want the start to be.Tie another half hitch knot to make it a double half hitch. Continue making double half hitch knots with the remaining working cords.
A few tips:
- Picture the wave you want to create beforehand - you can even sketch it on a piece of paper
- Start knotting a little lower and work your way up to make the wave
- Leave a little extra cord hanging at the beginning
Step 4: The Sea
I like abstract art so I wanted to incorporate something slightly messy on this project.Initially I was going to make square knots and I did in a way,but they had a twist.
You will need 4 strands of cord to make this knot and you will be working with the outer two cords while
the two middle cords stay fixed.Take the outer left cord and create a small loop placing it over the two middle cords,creating a shape resembling the number 4.Then take the outer right cord and place it over the left cord.Start to create your knot by taking the right cord under the middle cords.Then take the right cord through the loop formed by the left blue cord.Pull the cords to tighten and you have the first half of the square knot. To make up the second half of the square knot you will repeat the steps working in the opposite direction. Start with the outer right cord and create a small loop placing it over the two middle cords,again creating a shape of a mirror number 4.Now take your outer left cord and place it over the right cord. Create your knot by taking the left cord and going under the middle cords and through the loop formed by the right cord.DO NOT tighten.Instead,grab the two middle cords and pull them out slightly so that they form a small loop.Keep that loop loose and then tighten the previous knot.Repeat this knot on the first and second row.When you begin making the second row,leave the first two strands of cord and start with the next 4.
Step 5: Second Wave Line
To secure everything in place repeat the same process as described on Step 3.
Step 6: Fish Head
Once the sea is complete it's time to make the fish.Start out by making the larger fish on the center first.
Leave a slight gap between the bottom wave line and once you decide where you want your fish to go make a single square knot there,using 3 strands of cord.Next,start adding more cords to each one of the outer cords you created the square knot with.Add each cord by making a Lark's head knot with a slight difference - take a strand of cord and fold it in half,place the loop you have created under the outer cord of the square knot.Reach over the loop and grab the two loose strands.Bring them up through the loop,pull and tighten the knot.Add three strands of cord on each side.
Using 4 strands of cord make a loose square knot - as described on Step 4.This will be the eye of the fish.
Step 7: The Fish Head
Finish the head of the fish by closing it with a row of double half hitch knots.
Use the left outer cord of the first square knot you made as a holding cord.Place it horizontally across the other cords.From left to right, tie a half hitch with the first strand - pass the cord over and then under the holding cord, followed by over itself to form a loop. Pull the knot tightly.Tie another half hitch knot to make it a double half hitch. Continue making double half hitch knots with the remaining working cords.
The fish head is now complete.
Step 8: The Fish Body
To make the body of the fish you will need to create several spiral knots.You will be working with,again 4 strands of cord with one exception - the last spiral knot will have 5 strands.
Begin by taking the second,third,fourth and fifth strand of cord - leave the first cord aside.You will be using the first and last cord as an outline of the body of the fish.Making the spiral knot is like making a square knot,only this time you will not be alternating the knots.
You will again be working with the outer two cords while the two middle cords stay fixed.Take the outer left cord and create a small loop placing it over the two middle cords,creating a shape resembling the number 4.Then take the outer right cord and place it over the left cord.Start to create your knot by taking the right cord under the middle cords.Then take the right cord through the loop formed by the left blue cord.Pull the cords to tighten.Repeat this step over and over again - the spiral will form by itself.
Since there will be 5 strands of cord for the last spiral,work with the outer two cords and leave the middle three strands fixed.
Make the second and third spirals slightly longer than the outer two.
Step 9: Gathering Knot
Once the body of the fish is complete it's time to gather everything together.To make a gathering knot you will need a separate strand of cord.
Gather the two outer cords and all of the spirals together.Take your strand and make a small loop over your other strands.Take the long end, wrap it around all of your strands, trapping the loop.Keep wrapping the long tail about 4-5 times around.Take the long strand and pass it through the loop.To complete the knot, pull on the shorter strand which will trap the longer strand underneath the knot.Finally cut the short strand.
Refer to the video for easier understanding.
Step 10: The Fish Tail
After you have created the gathering knot,all there is left to do is make the tail of the fish.
There will be a bunch of strands,choose two and bring them towards the middle.It's best if you choose short strands if there are any.Once you have chosen the strands,use each of them as holding cords and create double half hitch knots diagonally to the left and the right side.For the first row make five double half hitch knots,for the second row make two more and for the last row use all of the leftover cords.This way the tail's size is gradually growing and making it look more realistic.
Once you have done the three rows,connect the first row to the second by using the second row's holding cord as a holding cord and make a double half hitch knot using the holding cord of the first row.Repeat the same with the second and third rows.Refer to the fourth and fifth photo for easier understanding.
Step 11: Make the Little Fish
To make the little fish repeat the same steps on a smaller scale:
- Add two strands of cord on each side instead of three
- Make three spirals instead of four
- Make two rows of double half hitch knots for the tail instead of three
Step 12: Trim Any Excess
Trim any excess cord and form the shape of your choice - i went with a diagonal cut on each side.Since I am using scrap cord there are places where the cord is a lot shorter but I don't mind that.I think this way it looks even more beautiful.
Step 13: Hide the Hanging Cords
Remember the wave lines we created? Now it's time to hide any leftover cord.
Flip the wall hanging on its back side.Tie the hanging cords gently to some of the looser strands of the loose square cords.
Step 14: Dyeing the Cord
I loved the way this wall hanging turned out but I felt like it needed a pop of color.Naturally I went with blue,to imitate the sea.
Start out by adding enough water to a bucket and color it with blue dye.I used gel food coloring and it worked perfectly fine.Next,dip the strands you want to dye into the bucket.Leave the dye to do its magic for about 5 minutes.Take out the wall hanging from the bucket.
To create an ombre effect remove some of the water and add more dye.This way you will achieve a darker shade of blue.Dip the lower part of the wall hanging and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
Finally,take it out and let it dry completely.I dyed this wall hanging partly - I left the tails of the fish with the natural cotton color and I think that made a great contrast.
Step 15: Hang Your Artwork
Your fiber artwork is complete! Now,all there is left for you to do is hanging it up on your wall and admiring it.Or just gift it to someone,like I did!
Thank you for reading or scrolling through this Instructable!
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